Thursday, November 29, 2012

Three Things Thursday: Pre-Marathon

1. Tomorrow we leave for Las Vegas so my husband and I can each run our own first marathon! I have so many emotions right now...excited, nervous, excited, scared, happy... and excited! I know I'm starting to feel a little antsy with tapering and nervousness because I have been dreaming about the marathon and probably accidentally kicking my husband in the middle of the night with my "sleep running". But I am seriously so freaking excited! I know I will make it to that finish line, even if it isn't as fast as I hope. Like I wrote the other day about tapering...I need to trust in my training, and keep my mind strong in these final days.

2. The weather for Sunday looks nice. High temp of 70 degrees. Since we start at 3pm, it will be warm at the start, but should get to be a nice temperature before I get halfway through. I don't think it will be much cooler than 60 degrees by the time I'm finished, so it will be perfect for running. Probably the thing I'm most nervous about is eating during the day, since I didn't really do much night training. I'll try to post as soon as I can after the race to let you all know how it goes!

3. Some fun stuff that's not running...last night I saw the Trans Siberian Orchestra. They have put together a new show, and it was awesome! Cute story. Awesome rock show and lights. So much fun!


Tuesday, November 27, 2012

How to Marathon Taper

Wow. I can't believe it is less than 6 days from the Rock & Roll Las Vegas Marathon! The time has really flown by the last couple weeks!

The race is definitely starting to feel real. I have printed out my confirmation codes, and have planned rides to the airport. And I'm getting SO excited...and a little nervous too.

Tapering hasn't been too bad so far, but I'm starting to get antsy this week. I am ready for a long run! Luckily since I was away over the weekend, it was easy to have things to do instead of running.

I realized not everyone may have done a taper before, so I thought I'd give a little explanation of the how's and why's of tapering.

Why Taper?
Basically, the point of a taper before a race is to let your muscles fully recover. Additionally, you can top off your glycogen stores, and reduce your chances of injury during the race. Swimmers who completed a taper before a race improved their performance by 3%, and increased their arm strength and power by 17.7% and 24.6%. In a marathon, this 3% difference could work out to a decrease in time of 5 to 10 minutes!!

I have also read that the key to a good taper is to reduce mileage, but keep the same intensity (pace). One study showed that keeping high intensity but lowering volume resulted in a running time to fatigue increased by 22%. In addition, although you might feel a little lazy with all your resting, you won't lose any aerobic capacity!

How to Taper?
For a half marathon, I usually do a shorter run the week before my race, and the week of my race I take things easier (slow my pace a bit). I also try not to run (or only do an easy 2ish miles as a shakeout run) the day before the race.

For a marathon, the time of the taper is usually extended a little longer. I have reduced my mileage for the last two weekends. Over a period of three weeks, it is suggested to cut down to 75-80% of my peak training in week 1, then 50-60% in week 2, and to about 30% in week 3 (the week of the race).

Runs in the final week should be less than 4 miles. It is important to keep any runs the week of the race short and slow (1.5-2 mins/mile slower than marathon pace), even though your muscles feel well rested and will likely want to go faster.  Additionally, you should not increase workouts in other areas like cross training or weightlifting -- again to provide lots of rest time and not tire yourself out. Try to stay off your feet and rest as much as possible.

Throughout the tapering process you should especially be focusing on eating well, staying hydrated, and getting to bed early! This is most critical in the final week.

Every person deals with the taper a bit differently, or may need a different amount of time (we are all different, right?). For my first marathon, I'm following the general guidelines, and if I think this is too long for me, I could adjust how long my taper lasts if I do another marathon.

More Info
Here are some links that can provide more details about tapering:
Pete Pfitzinger
Brian Mac
Runner's World
Training Science

Mind Games
I think it is also important to focus on the mental picture during the last few weeks. Remind yourself that you are physically capable and trust in your training. I like to picture myself having a great race, or pushing through the tough parts of the race to get myself ready.

Anyone have other tips for tapering?

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Thankful for Good Friends

We spent all weekend with Matt & Raechel. It is great to have good friends you can spend a ton of time with and have a blast the whole time.

Thursday, the four of us did our morning turkey trot. Then we cooked all day for an amazing Thanksgiving feast! Ate way too much food, looked through all the Black Friday adds, ate dessert, lounged on the couch in a food coma. Thanksgiving is perfect for taper week -- carbs + relaxing.

Friday, we enjoyed the beautiful weather on a nice walk (it was beautiful out!), then the four of us headed out to South Lake Tahoe for the rest of the weekend. We got a great deal on a condo rental in the Heavenly village area. The weekend continued to be filled with food, (window) shopping, and board games.

 squinting in the sun!

Today, Ryan and I settled back in after being away all weekend. And we got our Christmas tree! It is lovely this year! I love to have a few blinking lights on my Christmas tree. So now we are relaxing, watching the tree and enjoying a fire in the fireplace. Love.

What did you do this weekend? Anything fun?

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving!

This morning I ran the Run to Feed the Hungry. They said they were expecting record attendance this year! It was a beautiful morning to be out on the road with so many people!!

Kept the outfit fun with lots of pink! Work my ProCompression socks, pink long sleeve tech t from last week's Davis Turkey Trot, and my new pink BIC Band.

Today I am thankful for my amazing family and friends, especially my wonderful,supportive husband. For the smiles and laughter that are present every day. I am thankful for moving my body and my health, and for being able to continue learning every day.

Hope everyone has a great day today!

Happy Thanksgiving!

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